Looking at the Recipe Box

I am my mother. I never thought in a million years that I’d come to that conclusion but here we are. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been sorting through my recipe boxes. Yes, I have two stuffed to the bursting point boxes of recipes. Some of the recipes date back to B.C. (before children) or even pre-B.C. (before Betty Crocker)! It has been my mission to wade through the contents and toss any that are horrible. Now I have to confess that a good portion of these were part of a 9th grade Home Economics project that involved collecting recipes and putting them into a card box. I was not selective. It was one of those boring and in my 9th grade mind pointless activities. I did exactly what was required to receive an A. Thus I have in this file a couple of recipes that I will never in 10,000 years ever make or eat if someone else makes. The funny thing is that my mother gave me a fist full of newspaper clippings and recipes that she had collected and never used for this… so we have 2 generations of dishes that no one wants to eat.

Curried carrots
Pickled tongue
Creamed turnips
Iā€™ve come undone
Barbecue hotdogs
Celery jello
Asparagus flan
Iā€™ll just say no!
Green olive soup
Fennel bread
Vinegar pie
Iā€™m better off dead

I hope you enjoyed the list poem (with a touch of rhyme), I’ve tossed the above recipes. The asparagus flan was a weird and disgusting recipe. Just imagine for a moment making a fruit flan but substituting asparagus in place of apricots. Yeah, there is no point in keeping that one! I did however keep the recipe for “Cherry Fluff” that my Grandma Tena gave me. She went through a phase in the late 1970s when she made and served this dessert at every get together. I’m not sure why but it was a favorite, however I usually make it with black cherry jello.

Pink Fluff
1 large package of cherry jello
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can fruit cocktail drained well
16 oz. cool whip
1 c. chopped pecans

Mix together pie filling, jello, and fruit cocktail. Fold in cool whip until it is a uniform pink. Refrigerate. Sprinkle nuts on top and serve well chilled.

35 thoughts on “Looking at the Recipe Box

    1. I had the first inkling I was turning into my mother when I was just married and having dinner out. It was at that moment that my husband and I turned to each other and in a “jinx” moment commented that we couldn’t believe that people were not dressed up to eat at such a high class establishment. And so it began. Thirty-six years later I’m willing to own it!


  1. No family reunion potluck is considered authentic without at least a couple of dishes that include things embedded in Jell-o. And of course, a couple of ground beef and macaroni dishes, later marketed by Kraft Foods in a box labeled Hamburger Helper, are mandatory too.


    1. Around here it isn’t the hamburger helper thing but macaroni salads. If you like to risk your life, come to a summer potluck and sample all the mayonnaise laden pasta salads!!


    1. Hehe! I guess there isn’t much difference between MN Lutheran Church lady cuisine and Indiana Lutheran Church lady cuisine!! My husband’s parents are from Minnesota only Catholic. I suspect there is quite a bit of overlap in the hotdish category… This made me laugh and then feel guilty. I love the visual of weaponized dinner but I’m sad she is no longer with you.


    1. Hehe! I suppose the 1950s saw a plethora of oddly named dishes – Tube steaks (hotdogs), white water steak (liver), and the ever present mishmash labeled Surprise as a suffix such as tuna surprise or under the sea surprise… Some of those should have been titled “I’m better off dead”!!

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  2. Love this post. I have my mom’s recipe box as well, it was the treasure I got after she died, and in it I discovered a bunch of recipes that I had written from my home economics class in high school, a class I hated because I had already been cooking for years at home and they had us make really simple stuff like hot chocolate! I found that recipe, and it is a treasure also because every time I come upon it, I have to laugh a little. They are all treasures because they are part of our history, and don’t really take up that much space….


    1. Thanks for the comment Dorothy! I have several recipes that cause me to chuckle too. My mother had a Betty Crocker Recipe Book that was falling apart that my sisters and I looked over when she had to downsize. We were laughing so hard we shed tears. I also have a WWII cook book that my grandmother wrote commentary on the recipes – things like “Yuck! Don’t use this one!” and several with large Xs that state “NO GOOD”. The one for mock apple pie has the note – “Use more cinnamon”. It is a treasure!

      Liked by 1 person

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